Dorking Circular walk

Out along the North Downs escarpment and back through the Greensand Hills.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 15-Jan-22 Saturday walk - Dorking Circular 35 misty then mostly cloudy
Wed, 13-Oct-21 Wednesday Walk Dorking Circular - Out along the North Downs Escarpment and back through the Greensand Hills 16 starting sunny clouding later
Sat, 17-Oct-20 Saturday walk - Dorking Circular - lots of woods, lots of options 22 cloudy
Sat, 11-Jul-20 Dorking Circular (now with an earlier train) 10
Sat, 28-Sep-19 Saturday walk - Dorking Circular - Valley views and autumnal woods 31 sun and cloud
Sun, 19-May-19 A Sunday Saunter to Discover Dorking 9 humid and cloudy conditions
Sat, 01-Sep-18 Saturday Walk – The Greensand Hills from Gomshall to Dorking 15 sunny and warm
Sat, 25-Nov-17 Saturday walk - Dorking Circular 25 sunny all day
Sun, 23-Jul-17 Sunday Walk – Dorking Circular 10 cloudy with some light rain and occasional glimpses of the sun
Sat, 03-Sep-16 Saturday Third Walk – the North Downs & Greensand Hills 30 overcast with sunny spells
Sat, 15-Jan-22
Saturday walk - Dorking Circular
Dorking Circular T=swc.274
Length: 18½ km† (11.5 miles) or short version 16 km† (9.9 miles)
6 out of 10 or 4 out of 10

"The walk starts with a long stretch along the lower chalk slopes of the National Trust's Denbies Hillside, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Main Walk then heads south into the wooded Greensand Hills, going through the extensive Wotton Estate to the picturesque hamlet of Friday Street with its large Hammer Pond.

The return leg crosses a number of ridges on open access land managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission. After passing the large ponds of Bury Hill Fisheries a final climb takes you along the top of The Nower, a semi-natural woodland reserve with splendid views. There are plenty of opportunities for refreshment in Dorking before the journey back."

You will probably encounter mud. The choice of which version to do comes after the early lunch. Note that the last mile of the walk is pretty straightforward in dying light.

Trains: Get the 0925 Horsham Train from London Victoria (Clapham Jct 0932) arriving 1021. Return trains xx07 & xx36.

Lunch: The Wotton Hatch (01306-887694) on the A25 at Wotton, after 4.7 miles, 7½ km. It serves food all day and has a large beer garden with views of the North Downs.

Tea: Various options in Dorking

  • 14-Jan-22

    I have booked a table for 8 at the Wooton Hatch at 12:45. We plan to join near Dorking West. I will phone pub and adjust numbers if there are many more / less of us. John

  • 15-Jan-22

    29 at the station on a delayed train, with a few who missed the group, and 3 drivers at Dorking West, so let's say 35 on a misty then mostly cloudy day. Some did the main walk and picnicked. Most stopped near the lunch pub, and ate inside or drank outside. Some who then did the short walk met the picnicers just before Dorking at the temple viewpoint as the light started to fade. A few spots of deep or slippery mud, but mostly fine. Thanks to the poster and author.

Wed, 13-Oct-21
Wednesday Walk Dorking Circular - Out along the North Downs Escarpment and back through the Greensand Hills
SWC 274 - Dorking Circular

Length: 16 km (9.9 miles) Short walk version, which omits Friday Street
Toughness: 4 out of 10
London Victoria: 10-25 hrs Southern service to Horsham CJ: 10-32, Sutton: 10-54 hrs
Arrive Dorking: 11-21 hrs
London Waterloo: 10-24 hrs SouthWest trains to Dorking CJ: 10-33, Wimbledon: 10-40 hrs
Arrive Dorking: 11-15 hrs
Would Waterlooers please wait for the arrival of Victorians outside Dorking station

Dorking to Victoria: 07 and 37 mins past the hour
Dorking to Waterloo: 30 mins past the hour (plus the Victoria train and change at CJ)
I suggest we do the short walk version of this walk today, mainly because it looks as though the Stephan Langton pub is still closed, so there is little point in including the leg to Friday Street.
Leaving Dorking we soon take the Old Carriage Road - a chalky track - along the North Downs Escarpment from which there are fine views to the south. After White Down Lease we turn left and head down and inland across fields and through farmland before heading uphill to Wotton, passing on the way St John the Evangelist Church. In Wotton we stop at the Wotton Hatch pub for lunch - usually good.
After lunch the walk continues through woodland to Bury Hill Fisheries then The Nower on the Greensand Way (a hill above Dorking). Then it's down through the town of Dorking where we can stop for tea before walking to the railway station.
Walk Directions are here: L=swc.274
  • Anonymous

    How was Battle? Train cancellations?

  • Anonymous

    I'll be arriving at Dorking Deepdene a few minutes ahead of Dorking Mains, but am quite slow, so will set off as I'm sure you will all catch me up v quickly. AT

  • 13-Oct-21

    15 at the station with a 16 th joining at lunch time. A pleasant day for walking starting sunny clouding later Most did the short option but a few struck out for Friday Street. Of course, I was soon left behind but I soldiered on, with a cheerful countenance and a kind word for everyone I met. Never mind, though. As we neared the lunch pub, the rest caught me up again. (I don’t know either, readers - space, time, and maybe a few cows).

    Those what ate at the Wotton Hatch liked what they got.

    Then we were off again. I was looking forward to racing up the Nower but as I was keeping the walk's author company and he wanted to check out a lower path, I forwent the experience. Various tea-shops were visited on return. I may have had a piece of cake. A sizable proportion caught the 17:07

  • 14-Oct-21

    3 of us stopped for tea at Cake Rider (cafe) in South Street. Highly recommended - delicious cakes and proper leaf tea in china pots.

  • Sandy

    You are partly right Mr Tiger. The ones you mysteriously overtook had absent-mindedly wandered into a field of cows, but no doubt we lost time because in trying to get back to the route we ended up scrambling up a very steep, crumbly bank in the woods. Tree branches and roots were clung to, among other things.

    In the afternoon three of us had a most enjoyable stroll to Friday Street. There was quite a lot of interesting produce on offer at the cottages there, including quails' eggs, but none of us had the right change to purchase any. (The jam seller invited payment by paypal but I didn't know how to do that on my phone.) We wondered about the lower path round the Nower but decided to stick to what we knew.

    Anyway, a fine walk, thanks for posting.


Sat, 17-Oct-20
Saturday walk - Dorking Circular - lots of woods, lots of options
Length: 18.5km (11.5 miles) with options of 16km (9.9 miles) and 22.8km (14.1 miles) T=3.274
Toughness: 6 out of 10
9.54 train from Waterloo (10.03 Clapham Junction) to Dorking, arriving 10.45
9.55 train from Victoria (10.02 Clapham Junction, 10.24 Sutton) to Dorking, arriving 10.51
After getting off the train, please exit the station and assemble in the car park. There we will split into groups of six.

Once again there are two possible trains. Last week I said the Waterloo lot should not wait for the Victoria lot for social distancing reasons, but I suppose if you find no one congenial in the first group, you can wait for the long as you take the Waterloo train in the first place, obviously.
For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, and for a map of the route click here.
Someone suggested this walk to me last week, and though it had an outing in July, I see no reason why it should not get another airing. It has plenty of woods, particularly in its latter half, and if there is any autumn colour to be had, no doubt they will be a good place to look for it.
There are three options - the main walk of 18.5km (11.5 miles), a longer one of 22.8km (14.1 miles) and a shorter walk of 16km (9.9 miles). The latter, it has to be said, misses out the big woodland area in the afternoon, but is doubtless very pretty nonetheless. As has been pointed out to me by certain parties, a fourth option is to do the main walk backwards, using the GPX or map. With the requirement to split into groups of no more than six, now is the perfect time to try such experiments.
The July walkers found the Stephan Langton pub had closed permanently. That leaves the earlier Wotton Hatch pub as the only pub lunch stop on the main and short walks. On the long walk there is a choice of the Volunteer or Abinger Hatch pubs. All these three pubs seem to be open from their websites, but how receptive they will be to walk-up custom is anyone's guess.
Dorking should at least provide somewhere for tea.
Trains back are at 02 and 32 to Waterloo and 07 and 37 to Victoria. The Waterloo trains are marginally quicker; the Victoria trains are nicer, with air conditioning and toilets.
  • Anonymous

    Very keen on the 14m option.

  • Anonymous

    Waterloo St tube currently closed.

  • 17-Oct-20

    22 (ish). I did not count exactly. There were 15 (ish) on the Waterloo train and I was later informed 7 on the Victoria train. At least 5 did the long walk and a few may have done the short walk for all I know. But most probably did the main walk - split into smaller groups as per regulations, natch.

    It is not news that this is a lovely autumn walk with some good woods, some fieldy bits, and fine views in the early stages and at the end. The autumn colours are mostly on the exposed faces: some beeches and Norway maples were a lovely gold. But deep in the woods it is still largely green. On one grassy slope there were dinner plate-sized parasol mushrooms.

    The weather was cloudy , but there was some sun around the middle of the day, which was well-timed for those of us who picnicked near the lake at Friday Street. There was not much mud. All in all a cheerful break in these dismal times

Sat, 11-Jul-20
Dorking Circular (now with an earlier train)
Length: 16km / 18km / 23km (10m / 11m / 14m), depending on route taken
Toughness: 6 / 10
Meet (Amended !): Outside Dorking Station at 10:30. (Train services are currently being reviewed and a new schedule applies on Saturday, 11th. The London Waterloo train at 9:54 has disappeared. At the moment (Tue, 13:15) I can find a train from London Victoria at 9:25 arriving in Dorking at 10:21)
A pleasant walk through a long valley and then across the Greensand Hills before heading back to Dorking. The Wotton Hatch on the long walk seems to be open and serving food. The Stephan Langton pub on the main walk is closed (thanks to anonymous for the link).
  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    See above. Pub currently closed. Landlords have left.

  • 13-Jul-20

    10 , I'm told

  • 17-Jul-20

    Belated report - Paul and I decided to run the Dorking circular, rather than walk. We coincided with a sizeable group at Dorking Station (waiting for the one toilet that was open), then ran on. We spotted a solo walker following the route, & met the large group again later on, eventually at the pub near the station. They said they were Ramblers following the SWC route. Not much social distancing going on.

Sat, 28-Sep-19
Saturday walk - Dorking Circular - Valley views and autumnal woods
Main walk: 18.5km (11.5 miles), with options of 16km (9.9 miles) or 22.8km (14.1 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10 T=3.274

9.25 train from Victoria (9.32 Clapham Junction, 9.54 Sutton) to Dorking (arriving 10.21)

You can also get the 9.30 from London Bridge to Redhill, changing there (arriving 10.00. departing 10.13) to Dorking Deepdene, arriving 10.24. Assuming this train is on time, if you walk as quickly as possible up to the station approach for Dorking Main station (it is about 200 metres away), you should intercept the rest of us.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

Buy a day return to Dorking (obviously): slightly cheaper Southern-only tickets are available if you are travelling both ways on the direct Victoria train.

This walk had a Sunday outing in May, but in its purest form has not had a Saturday airing since 2017. It is a perfect autumn walk, with some open views in the morning and some fine wooded country in the afternoon. It is too early for much in the way of autumn colour, but there may be a bit, and this should also be a good walk for fungi and other signs of the season.

On the main walk you have a choice of the Wotton Hatch pub after 4.6 miles or the Stephen Langton after 6 miles. A large group might be advised to split itself between the two.

There is also a shorter 9.9 mile version of the walk, which only takes in the Wotton pub, and a longer 14.1 mile walk which has a different set of lunch options, but which splits off from the main walk route quite early on.

Tea options are not lacking in Dorking (see the walk's home page)

Trains back from Dorking Main are at 07 and 37 past the hour

Trains from Dorking Deepdene to Redhill (for connections to London Bridge) are at 8/11 and 26/27 past the hour

  • 28-Sep-19

    31 on this walk, comprising 24 on the direct train from Victoria, 4 to Dorking Deepdene via Redhill, and three late starters. Among the latter were a couple who I told did the long walk and one of our group did too, but the rest of us, as far as I am aware, did the main walk. I did not hear of any doing the short walk, but if such there were, do file a separate report.

    It was a pleasant day of sun and cloud and the ground, while damp, was not at all muddy. The trees are still overwhelmingly green, of course, but there were pleasing bits and pieces of leaf colour. In the woods after Friday Street we also found lots of different species of fungi, with our resident expert pointing out the tiny details that meant the different between sudden death and a delicious meal. My favourite was the stinkhorn, which resembles....but this is a family show, so you will have to Google it.

    There was a debate about whether to stop at the Wotton Hatch pub - or rather there was not: I suggested it and everyone ignored me and sailed on past. So we went on to the Stephan Langton which was not at all busy, even rather empty until some other small walking/cycling groups turned up. We all happily ate outside in the sun, while the sandwichistas camped by the pond.

    Someone had added lots of steep hills to the woody bit after lunch. The climb up The Nower felt like going up the Matterhorn. Quite a lot of us congregated on the top to enjoy the slivers of view allowed by the trees.

    On the way into Dorking we discovered some men picking large bags of hops from ones growing wild by the road. Subliminally inspired by this, no doubt, on arrival in the town centre some went to the pub. I forgot to check in on them later so I don’t know how long they stayed. Myself and nine others ended up in a nice cafe whose name I forgot to check: it had nice cakes and proper china tea pots.

    At the station we found the platform crowded, some of our walkers among them, because the 5.07pm train had been cancelled. But the 5.37pm ran on time and deposited us at hideously busy Victoria at 6.30pm. “Too early”, commented one walker, and I agreed, but soon we were parted by the crowd.....

  • 29-Sep-19

    A couple of us had a discussion about the Tillingbourne Waterfall and how to get there.

    It's marked on the OS map on the Wotton Estate on the north slopes of Leith Hill, near Friday Street. The Waterfall itself is on private land but can be seen from a footpath.

    This could perhaps be added as an optional detour to the walk directions

    I found these directions online

    I believe the falls are man made, probably as a water garden in John Evelyn’s day (late 1600’s)

  • 29-Sep-19

    The Tillingbourne Waterfall is indeed man-made; the walk route actually takes you over the water channel that feeds it, on the climb out of Broadmoor. The (rather uninspiring) estate track it's on is about 300-400m off-route from this hamlet and I couldn't find a sensible way of incorporating it into any of the many options on this walk. Also, I didn't think many people would bother to make an out'n'back detour; "worth seeing, but not worth going to see", as Boswell might have said.

    Click here for photos of the waterfall and the estate track.

Sun, 19-May-19
A Sunday Saunter to Discover Dorking
SWC 274: Dorking Circular T=swc.274

Distance: 14.1 Miles (22.7 km) for the long version and 11.5 Miles (18.5 km) for the shorter main version (with shortcuts available -- see walk notes)

Difficulty: 8 out of 10 for the long version and 6 out of 10 for the shorter option

Train: Take the 10:02 Dorking (Main) train from London Waterloo to Dorking, arriving at 10:53. Return trains are at 07; 16 and 46 past the hour. Buy a day return to Dorking Stations.

Both the standard and longer versions of this walk have received a thumbs up on prior outings – so thought it a worthy destination for a Sunday Saunter in Spring… Both routes start and finish together and explore some pretty villages, valleys and escarpments near the North Downs close to Boxhill. The walk instructions and more details are available here.

The recommended lunchtime pub for the longer option is the Abinger Hatch in Abinger Common (01306 730 737) and for the shorter route is the familiar Stephan Langton in Friday Street (01306 730 775).

Dorking has a number of post walk watering holes to discover….

Enjoy the walk!
  • Marc Ricketts

    What about a Walk to Kelvedon?

  • 16-May-19

    Hi Marc, the Kelvedon Circular walk has just had an outing on 7 April, so it will probably be a while before it gets posted again. Regards

  • Anonymous

    hello asking for some clarity - on the PDF - it says the long version is 11 miles and the shorter version 9 miles - however, this paragraph says 14 and 11? also a few short cuts is the shorter version referring to omitting Friday street? - many thanks

  • Anonymous

    oh you can ignore my comment above!! - I have worked it out - a longer route and a main route - sorry - many thanks!!! Hayley

  • Anonymous

    Ok am doing the 11 miler tomorrow

  • 20-May-19

    Seven gathered for formalities on the platform...leaving the question of long or short open....and were joined by two others in the station lobby...making for a total of 9 in humid and cloudy conditions . The group stayed together until the decision point where we split nearly in half, with 4 doing the standard 11 mile route and the other 5 the longer 14 mile route. On the longer route, the terrain was varied and enjoyed lunch in the garden of the Abinger Hatch (in a fine mist, under an umbrella) -- lovely food...the other 4 eventually joined for a drink and we set off again together for a roller coaster of an afternoon -- upping and downing all the way to Dorking....where 3 enjoyed some bevies in the Kings Arms on West Street -- a very charming and historic part of Dorking -- before catching the 18:07.

Sat, 01-Sep-18
Saturday Walk – The Greensand Hills from Gomshall to Dorking
Extra Walk 274c – Gomshall to Dorking
Length: About 16 km (10 miles). Toughness: 4/10

10:39 Reigate train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:46, East Croydon 10:57), changing at Reigate (arr 11:23, dep 11:35; same platform) for the Reading train, arriving Gomshall at 11:49. Buy a return to Gomshall.

For the return journey Dorking (Main) has Southern services to Victoria at xx:07 & xx:37. In theory there are also South Western Railway Trains to Waterloo departing a few minutes earlier, but these might not be running because of the RMT strike action. Alternatively, there are Great Western trains from Dorking Deepdene to Redhill at around xx:08 & xx:26 if you want to return this way.

This new variation of the Dorking Circular walk is essentially the second half of its fairly strenuous Long Walk option, and as many of those wanting a longer and tougher walk will be on today's Cotswolds outing I thought we'd give this variation its début. It's a late start because trains to Gomshall are only two-hourly but there are three possible lunch pubs in the first 1½ hours. Most of you will be familiar with the Stephan Langton in Friday Street but you might well be tempted a little earlier by The Abinger Hatch in Abinger Common. There are plenty of possible tea places in Dorking.

You'll need to bring the directions from the Dorking Circular walk page. Clicking 'Option c' will significantly reduce the amount printed. T=swc.274.c
  • Anonymous

    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

    Weather was ‘a perfect 10’ as one walker succinctly put it with clear skies, strong sunshine, a light breeze and plenty of shade. For the stats sunny and warm

    This walk is rather wonderful ( good choice Sean ) and even the numerous steep slopes ( two of them after a rather large and heavy lunch ) were enjoyable, though they were also excruciating for some of us. Curiously steep hills are getting harder you know though as I do them every week they should really get easier.

    Some lunched at the Abinger Hatch whilst 8 of us ate at the Stephan Langton where the food was good but the wait was the 'interminable' 55 minutes which was somewhat disappointing.

    and then those hills and just in time for tea and very nice homemade cakes for 8 of us at Two Many Cooks.

    And onto the station for the train home where some others joined us so most of us stayed together most of the day - as it appens - though I understand that a couple took a bus towards the end and were delighted by the fact that it was free for freedom pass people

    15 on the walk

    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:


Sat, 25-Nov-17
Saturday walk - Dorking Circular
Dorking Circular (SWC walk 274)
Length: 16km (10.1 miles), 18.8km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10 to 6 out of 10

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton) to Dorking, arriving 10.24.

There is also a 9.24 train from Waterloo (9.33 Clapham Junction, 9.40 Wimbledon), arriving 10.13, if anyone finds that more convenient, but note the information in the next paragraph

So long as you travel both ways by the Victoria trains, then you can buy a cheaper "Southern only" return to Dorking (if available).

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

Autumn colours will probably be past their best by now, but the dribs and drabs lingering on can still be very pretty. This walk has plenty of woods, particularly after lunch on the main (ie slightly longer) walk.

I was initially attracted to it because it offered 9 and 10.6 mile option, but I see on closer inspection that the author has hidden in the small print a sneaky supplement to those distances by starting his measurements from Dorking West, a station with about three trains a day. Starting from Dorking main station bumps the distances up to the ones stated at the top of this post, but at the end of the walk a good 2km or more is through the streets of Dorking, so actually you have more like 8.8 and 10.4 miles to do before nightfall.

You don't have to choose which walk you are doing until after the Wotton Hatch pub, the only lunch stop on the short walk, one of two possible lunch stops on the main walk (the other being the Stephan Langton). If it is a big group and the Wotton Hatch pub is busy, it clearly would be useful if the main walkers ate at the Langton, but you would be advised to ring first to check they have space.

If anyone is feeling really heroic, there is also a 22.6 km (14 mile) long option. You get access to two other pubs on this walk, but will almost certainly finish in the dark.

Dorking High Street has various tea options. Allow 15-20 minutes after them to get to the station.

Trains back are at 26 and 58 past to Victoria and 4 and 34 past to Waterloo, with only minutes difference in journey times. T=3.274

  • Anonymous

    25 -30?, so many I lost the count. Lots came off the train from Victoria which was delayed, we met several at Dorking station who came from Waterloo train arrived earlier, then two more joined enRoute, sunny all day . A lovely day out with nice scenary and autumn colour in sunshine. Several opted for earlier pub lunch at Wotten Hatch. I am told food came very fast and was good. Eleven (one arrived earlier and had already finished when the later party arrived) ate at Stephan Langton, a bit of wait for the food but it was worth the wait, all enjoyed their dishes. We booked a table for 8, but had 10, the pub quickly added a extra table for us, when we left at 2:15pm the place was full, so recommend booking if a large party for the future. We saw ~10-12 walkers (mainly sandwichers who were ahead of us) in a tea room in Dorking but it was full, so eight of us went to another one (can't remember the name) down the road. Tea and cakes lived up to our high expectations. All left just after 5pm, we caught 5:34pm train back to London. A nice day out in good company, and no traffic noise either...

  • Anonymous

    Two at Clapham Junction got the 10.03 train to Dorking as the 9.37 was cancelled. Did the Victoria train not stop at CJ? Didn't see anyone else at Dorking. Decided to do Dorking to Reigate walk instead. This was a lovely walk with countless crossings of the river Mole and lots of autumn colour mainly on the ground. We were enthusiastically shepherded into the church in Betchworth where there was a display of alternative Christmas trees made by local groups - all really inventive. A really enjoyable day

Sun, 23-Jul-17
Sunday Walk – Dorking Circular
Extra Walk 274 – Dorking Circular
Length: 18¾ km (11.7 miles), with shorter and longer options. Toughness: 6/10

10:02 Dorking train from Waterloo (Vauxhall 10:07, Clapham Jct 10:13, etc), arriving Dorking (Main) at 10:53. If there's a problem with this train and you can get to Clapham Junction by 10:18, you could take a Southern service to Dorking (on a different line), arriving at 11:09.

Dorking (Main) has an hourly South West Train service to Waterloo at xx:07 and Southern services to Victoria at xx:15 & xx:45. There is also an hourly Great Western service from Dorking Deepdene at xx:19 if you want to return this way (changing at Redhill for Victoria).

This walk takes in the area to the west of Dorking, with a long stretch along the chalky hillside of the North Downs in the morning and a more wooded section back across the Greensand Hills in the afternoon. If you want a pub lunch I reckon your best chance is shortly before 1pm at the Wotton Hatch, but all the pubs on the walk route could well be fully booked on a Sunday and you might prefer to have a picnic lunch by the picturesque Hammer Pond at Friday Street. The end of the walk is through Dorking town centre where there are plenty of refreshment places (and although it's likely to be closed by the time you get there, any Americans might like to seek out Mullins Coffee Shop).

You'll need to print the directions from the Dorking Circular Walk page. You can reduce the number of pages printed by clicking the 'Main Walk' option, or print the whole document if you think you might want to switch to the shorter or longer option. T=swc.274
  • Anonymous

    Anyone doing this walk pls?

  • Ian T

    Probably 10

    7 off the train, one of whom vanished inside the station. Plenty of chalkland flowers as we came through Denbies Hillside. The Wotton Hatch was packed – whatever happened to the down to earth boozer I first visited many years ago? Gone the way of the Ploughman's Lunch, that's what.On to the Stephan Langton, where I arrived too late to witness any food consumption, but I did come across the other four walkers, finishing off their coffee and looking very replete. These, the Langton Four, had remarkably clean boots for people who claimed to have been walking. And so back to Dorking. The four soon vanished – back to their cars no doubt! Leaving me to deal with the menacing black labrador at Squires Farm all by myself. This free-range beast‘s forte is snarling , teeth baring, lunging and backing off. And again. No actual biting so maybe my “nice doggy” strategy does work. I didn’t try patting it to find out. When I got nearer Dorking I realised that the bits in italics were easy options allowing me to avoid the final hilly bits. (Did them last year, no need to do them again). cloudy with some light rain and occasional glimpses of the sun

  • Sandy

    Maybe it's too late to add anything to Ian's excellent report, but one of the "Langton 4" joined three of the initial group for the full afternoon walk, including an encounter with the snarly dog. We only found Costa open for tea in Dorking, but all in all a most enjoyable day in varied countryside.

Sat, 03-Sep-16
Saturday Third Walk – the North Downs & Greensand Hills
New Walk – Dorking Circular
Length: 17 to 23 km (10.6 to 14.3 miles), depending on options. Toughness: 6 or 8/10

09:31 Horsham train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 09:37, Sutton 09:59, etc), arriving Dorking (Main) at 10:24. From Victoria (but not intermediate stations) you can get a "Southern Only" day return to Dorking which is 20% cheaper than the standard fare, but you'd have to travel out and back on this route.

If it's more convenient you can travel out via East Croydon, changing at Redhill. I won't clutter things up with details of the connections, but the 10:14 from Redhill arrives at Dorking Deepdene at 10:26 so you can meet the others near the start; while the 10:34 arrives at Dorking West at 10:49 (cutting out the first 1½ km), about the time when the others will be passing this station. All three Dorking stations are covered in the Walk Directions.

Dorking (Main) has Southern services to Victoria at xx:26 & xx:58, while South West Trains depart for Waterloo at xx:04 & xx:34. There are also Great Western trains from Dorking Deepdene to Redhill at around xx:08 & xx:26 if you want to return this way.

You might expect a relatively strenuous Dorking walk to be climbing Box Hill, but this new walk takes in the less familiar territory on the other side of the town. There's a brief overlap with one of the Book 1 walks (#42, Holmwood to Gomshall) around Friday Street, but otherwise this one covers new ground for the SWC.

After about an hour you'll have to choose whether to do the Main Walk (with lunch in Wotton or Friday Street) or the Long Walk (with lunch in one of the Abingers or Friday Street, if you can hold out till then). As both sets of directions could do with checking it would be good if there were some walkers on each. [There's also a Short Walk option after the lunch pub in Wotton, although that's intended for shorter days and/or a later start.]

All the possible lunch pubs are relatively up-market and I'm not sure how they'll cope with the sudden arrival of a large group. It would make sense to choose one and call ahead, or to split up and so get feedback from several pubs on each option. The Walk Notes list some of the many tea places in Dorking but most of them are untried so again feedback on any of them would be welcome. There are plenty of other coffee shops, pubs and restaurants which will be competing for your custom if you loiter in the town before returning.

You'll need to print the directions from this New Walk page. As usual you can click one of the Walk Options to reduce the amount printed, if you're sure which one you'll be doing. T=swc.274
  • 03-Sep-16

    24 (or 25 by some people's count) walkers on the platform, 2 more at the gate, 3 more at Deepdene station and 1 more that had taken a bus to The Wotton Hatch lunch pub on the short and medium options to start from there, so I make that (at least) 30 walkers, the fastest ones of which finished the walk w/o encountering a single drop of the wet stuff from above, so overcast with sunny spells , I'd say. [The drizzle, then rain, started the moment we had reached Dorking station.]

    Relative chaos ensued from the off, as the long walkers sped off, one disciple of The Church Of The Followers Of A Line On A Screen started the walk the wrong way round, all the way to the lunch pub in Wotton, to then re-trace the walk from there with some other medium walkers; one other walker apparently went straight up the first hill "to explore a different route", never to be seen again (not the woman from SW London you're all thinking of); and the majority of the short and medium walkers were never seen again (by us).

    8 of the long walkers reconvened at the Abinger Hatch (traditional pub classics menu, very convincingly executed, delivered at fair speed and for decent prices, and the pub was not very busy at all, so: recommended).

    Later we overtook (and assembled into our group) said out-the-wrong-way walker, the bus taker and one other. The 15.58 train was narrowly missed...

    As for the walk: very nice, plenty of gentle and not so gentle ascents, shaded woods, far views and pretty villages; minimal overlap with other offerings of this great walking club, so a worthy addition to the list, methinks.

    Might be a major challenge in muddy conditions, despite various avoidance routes being described in the text...

    Oh, and - of course - there was the - by now customary - cameo appearance of the walk author, this time at the Wotton pub.

  • 04-Sep-16

    Two of us lingered over tea in the Stephan Langton, forgetting that the rain was coming. A few drops towards the end of our sojourn reminded us. We got VERY WET on the walk back into Dorking. Still, I expect the drought-stressed plants all around us were very grateful.